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Insider Only Practice Notebook: Arians on Steelers offensive woes & impact Marcus Gilbert has on running 2-minute offense

By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Count Bruce Arians among those who were surprised that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense generally was ineffective against the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday afternoon, and as the club’s offensive coordinator one would believe that Arians has a plan to change that result this week.
Arians specifically was asked about the offensive explosion around the NFL last week, while the Steelers imploded. The Steelers play host to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field.
“I think it was anticipated by the teams that did it,” Arians said. “Miami might have been a surprise, but not the Patriots or some of the other teams that were veteran teams. But I was surprised by ours, the lack of it, considering how well we played in the preseason to that point.
Even against the Ravens’ defense?

“Sure, it was the same one that we always played,” Arians said. “It was just our inability to match their intensity. We came out thinking that we were the AFC champs, and they obviously have been pissed at us since February. And we didn’t match that. It was real obvious. So, I really can’t wait to see us play again to see how we respond to the way we played last week.
“That’s because talent is not the issue. It’s a matter of getting up and getting ready to play and playing and matching somebody else’s intensity. Hopefully, we’ll bring that intensity against a team that lost last week and is hungry for a win. So, I want to see what we’ll do, but I expect us to play really well. I’d be shocked if we don’t. And disappointed.”
Arians also admitted that seven turnovers were a surprise as well.
“We hadn’t turned it over the entire preseason (no picks, but one lost fumble) and had very few throughout training camp,” Arians said. “We were very proud of that and talked about that being the No. 1 goal, to avoid turnovers, but that obviously snowballed against us.
“We really weren’t planning to do (the no-huddle offense) early against the Ravens because of the noise, but it’s always easier to do at home anyway. But we have a rookie right tackle (Marcus Gilbert) who is starting, so there are a lot of variables to go into whether or not we’ll use it.
“I think he’ll play fine, as long as we stay in his comfort zone and don’t put him in a situation where he’s only got two seconds to think about a play instead of 10 while he’s breaking the huddle,” Arians added. “So, I’m not saying that we won’t. It’s something we’d like to do, but it’s not something we might do early with new people in there.”
A Fine Line
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said that he did not yet check to see if he got fined for his head-butt last week at Baltimore. Safety Troy Polamalu reportedly received an automatic fine for his horse-collared tackle, but that information and any amount have not been confirmed, either.
“I’m not sure, but to be honest I’m not a fan about people getting real vocal about the fines,” Polamalu said. “So, I’d rather not be part of that club. That’s just me. I just think that some things are private, and that’s one of those things.”
Practice Squad Juggling
Tight end Jamie McCoy was back on the Steelers practice squad to replace tight end-H back Dorin Dickerson after one day.
The former Pitt and West Allegheny High School product actually is still with the team, but he is on the injured-practice squad list. This apparently is a separate list from the actual practice squad.
Walking Wounded
For the second straight day, wideout Jerricho Cotchery did not practice due to his sore right hamstring. He was the only Steelers player to miss practice both Wednesday and Thursday.
Offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu (left knee), who had his knee drained Wednesday, returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. Cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamstring) was limited for a second straight day, while rookie cornerback Curtis Brown (ankle) was a full participant Thursday after going through practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

About The Author

Dale Grdnic

TIOPS Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Grdnic is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Football. Dale has covered the Pittsburgh Sports scene for over 15 years with various publications

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